As the search for a missing Kapuskasing couple continues, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) Trenton and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) have declared it a major search and rescue operation.
People in the Timmins, Kapuskasing and Sudbury area are also being asked not to fly drones in the search area.
According to a news release from the Department of National Defence, the major search and resuce declaration will allow for more RCAF and Civial Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) personnel and assets to help with the search, which is being co-ordinated out of the Timmins Victor M. Power Airport.
Kapuskasing's Nicole Blais, 47, and Jody Blais, 49, were last seen leaving Sudbury via helicopter March 4 at 6:45 p.m., but did not return to the hangar in Fauquier as scheduled. Their cell phone last pinged a tower near Timmins.
The missing helicopter is a grey Robinson R66 with white and orange trim.
There have been air and ground efforts to locate the couple.
The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton was advised of the missing helicopter Wednesday morning.
The RCAF aircraft being used in the search, include a CC-130H Hercules and two CH-146 Griffon helicopter from 8 Wing Trenton, a CC-130H Hercules from 17 Wing Winnipeg, and a CH-146 Griffon from 439 Squadron at 3 Wing Bagotville, Que.
A Cessna 337 and Cessna 182 from the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) with spotters on board have also been involved, along with the OPP helicopter and OPP ground search teams, and a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter has joined the search.
Family and friends have also been calling out for volunteers on social media and searching via snowmobile.
As the efforts continue, people are being asked not to fly drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the search area.
According to the DND, "it significantly affects our ability to safely carry out our SAR mission."
If you've seen a helicopter matching the description or have seen signs of a possible crash site, members of the public can call 705-268-2608 ext. 234.